The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Friday, April 30, 2004

Out till midnight taking seventeen year olds to see a WW1 tragi-comedy. Two things occur to me as I drive home in the small hours of the morning:
  • the staffing of all school journeys and trips anywhere is unpaid. Teachers work for free. That means if teachers did even notionally the hours they are paid for, every school trip every person has ever been on would have been cancelled. I'm certain that parents don't have the faintest clue that this is the case. Why don't we as a profession let people know this sort of detail, instead of gaining publicity for being beaten up, claiming compensation, or for striking for more pay?
    And if you ever went on a school trip, did you thank the teacher who gave up their family and friends to let you do that? By 'thank', I mean specifically, did you ever pay that act forward to someone else?

  • the play was very moving. I cried at the final scene. Yet I wasn't brave enough to show the students - lovely, sensitive responsive kids to a man - and waited a moment in the auditorium to compose myself before I rejoined them at the door.
    The next morning, I was braver, and admitted I'd cried at the end. As ever, sharing your emotions with them didn't embarrass or shock them, but simply 'made them keen' (to quote a line about older boys at Rugby School from the play) to explore whether they'd found it moving.
    What inhibited me from sharing it at the time? Perhaps retelling an emotion is far safer than allowing it to be witnessed. I do remember the almost physical sense of shock I felt when I first saw a teacher (a colleague) cry.

Please excuse the disorganisation and lack of structure of this post. I'm a little tired.